Ever so often as Jamaicans we become concerned about the state of the country. Ever so often we gripe and complain about the state of leadership, the prevalence of corruption, the in-effectiveness of our government and of the civil society, the state of our schools, and the lack of accountability which seems to pervade the society. We are generally concerned about the lack of safety or state of insecurity we face on a daily basis.
I do not want to speak to all of the above, I am more concerned about leadership and what happens when it fails. As we move into a new paradigm of the empowered voter and citizen, we have come to value and appreciate the truth of the statement that “leadership development is personal development” and this speaks to the capacity of all of us to be leaders, at the same time it does not take responsibility away from those of us who have taken on the challenge to lead leaders.
What if a follower is truly a leader? What if all of us approached our leaders as if we were total human beings, not requiring hand outs, people who demand respect, who speak the truth, who stay motivated and engaged? What if we were all visionaries? What if we held our leaders accountable, what kind of leadership would we have then? What if we approached follower-ship as if we were all leaders? What if all Jamaicans (or at least most of us) from every nook and cranny, every valley, every mountain top, took responsibility for the state of our nation and instead of complaining, or commenting, or criticising did something about it, whether we lived in a palace or a hovel? I am wondering what Jamaica would be if we, the citizens, the people who live in town, country, inner city or community started to behave as if we too have a responsibility to ensure that we were on a path to sustained development.
I hope I am not proposing a utopia, because I really do believe that it is only when as citizens we really raise our voice in the interest of justice and truth, when we start demanding that those who lead us live what they preach, that we will see the future which we deserve.
So has leadership failed in Jamaica? I am not so sure! I know follower-ship has not responded to the call of leadership, I know our citizens are afraid to challenge a status quo that does not work in the interest of most of us, I know the principle of community has failed and we have fallen into the abyss of selfish insularity and one ‘upmanship’. I know that in this state we do not support transformational leadership and we become distrustful of the motives of the sincere because we have become cynical and hard. I know that in this state, we prefer the motives of the evil and we have become comfortable with the ways of the wicked. Jamaica is a strange place to live, and as we progress into this state of distrust and inactivity it becomes stranger by the minute.